Must We Agree about Everything?

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Must Christians agree perfectly with church leadership before they can "walk" together or meet with other members? How has a misunderstanding of a verse in the book of Amos led to the separation of believers?

Amos, one of the twelve Biblical Minor Prophets, wrote his book in 796 B.C. In it, he wrote an interesting statement that is sometimes misinterpreted by some church groups and fellowships.

Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt . . . Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:1, 3, KJV).

Some church groups have used an errant understanding of Amos 3:3 to justify shunning or disfellowshipping a member because they disagreed with some minor doctrine. Amos' statement has been used to imply (if not outright state) that unless one agrees with a church's top leader or with the ordained ministry, he or she cannot attend church services or retain the right to be considered a church member.

A closer examination of the Hebrew text, however, shows that the actual meaning of Amos 3:3 is "can two walk together unless they (agree to) meet somewhere."

In other words, if two people cannot agree to a meeting place, then how can they walk side by side? If I agree to drive my friend to church services, we first have to agree to a meeting place before we can travel together to worship God. Sadly, even some church members may use their misunderstanding of Amos to justify shunning others in their group.

Diotrephes, a vain leader of a first century fellowship group, was the type of person to grasp at any reason to shun fellow Christians and even forbid some of them from meeting together!

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, the one who loves to be chief among them, does not accept us. Because of this very thing, if I come, I will call him to account for the actions that he is practicing with evil words - maliciously berating us;

and he is not satisfied with these things, for he himself neither receives the brethren, nor does he permit those who wish to receive the brethren, but he forbids them and casts them out of the church (3John 9 - 10, HBFV).

Can two walk together and still disagree? Our division should not be with each other but with the world that does not know or obey the true God.

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Article written by The Plainer Truth.
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